Last week, Amazon announced the release
of Virtual Private Cloud targeted towards the enterprises. Well, I am
not going to the debate whether it is actually a virtual private cloud
or not but, rather, talk about a couple of other offerings in this
space. This announcement by Amazon may not get the big enterprise
players to embrace public clouds immediately but it has the potential
to lure smaller level enterprise customers who are hesitant to jump in
due to the lack of any option to monitor the traffic coming and going
into the Amazon clouds. Even though, in a strictest sense, these kinda
perimeter fencing doesn’t mean much, it does offer a certain level of
confidence to the enterprises by offering some control over what comes
in and what goes out. In fact, it is one of the reasons why
CohesiveFT’s VPNCubed gained traction in the public cloud marketplace.
In my post about Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, I highlighted the differences between Amazon’s offering and VPNCubed running on EC2.
is all about control. With VPNCubed, the control of network overlay
lies in the hands of the customers whereas in the case of Amazon’s
offering, the control is with them and the need for a trust factor
doesn’t go away completely. VPNCubed supports multiple clouds (Sun
Cloud, vCloud, Private Eucalyptus Cloud, etc.) and it can also work
with a hardware based firewall whereas Amazon’s cannot. CohesiveFT will
be releasing a document soon with a detailed comparison.
CohesiveFT came out with a blog post highlighting the difference between these two products.
we will overlap in some segment of the market, but there is a major
difference in our approaches. We are a software company and have
created VPN-Cubed using software virtual appliances. AWS are
raised-floor gurus, they use hardware expertise to provide connectivity
They also provided a detailed head
to head comparison of features in that post. Clearly, VPNCubed
dominates at this point in terms of the feature set but Amazon holds
advantage in terms of brand and business reliability.
to be outdone by Amazon (well, to be accurate, I was briefed about this
announcement before I came to know about Amazon’s VPC), Skytap, the Seattle based Cloud vendor operating since 2006 (See Cloud Ave Review of Skytap),
announced the addition of network virtualization capabilities (which is
also positioned as Virtual Private Cloud) in their Cloud IT Labs
service at no additional cost. These new features add IPSec VPN tunnel
capabilities and more granular networking options to enforce security
and corporate policies while adding the Skytap cloud to their existing
IT environment. I asked Ian Knox of Skytap about his reaction to
Amazon’s VPC offering. He said that while he is happy about the
competition, he also highlighted how Skytap differentiates itself from
Amazon. Unlike Amazon, which is based on Xen hypervisor, Skytap uses
VMware tools to build their cloud. It offers enterprises a seamless
migration between their internal IT resource and the Skytap Cloud.
Whether we like it or not, VMware is still the dominant force in the
enterprise IT. This puts VMware based vendors like Skytap and others at
an advantage against Amazon Web Services. Ian also pointed out to the
main difference between Amazon VPC and this Skytap’s new offering.
Unlike Amazon (but somewhat similar to VPNCubed), Skytap offers full
control of network overlay to their enterprise customers. In the
paranoia filled enterprise world, this is a welcome feature.
Along with Amazon and Skytap, OpSource, the provider of infrastructure
for SaaS vendors, jumped into this market segment with their OpSource Cloud. Their offering marries the convenience of public clouds with the strict security and control requirements of the enterprise. OpSource positions their product as
Upon sign-up, each customer receives a Virtual Private Network and sets
the degree of public Internet connectivity they wish to grant, from
totally private to fully available. OpSource Cloud also provides user
customizable security with a compliant, high-performance multi-tier
Cloud architecture and full user control over firewall settings. In
addition, other enterprise quality controls include user level login
and passwords, operational permissions and departmental and
sub-department reporting, all backed by a 100% SLA.
OpSource differentiates itself from the Amazon VPC by offering an
ability to set up role based budgeting and user permissions with a
departmental and sub departmental level management. If my memory serves
right, Skytap also offers similar capabilities on their product.
This sudden rush in VPC offerings goes on to highlight the
understanding of the reality in the enterprise marketplace. In spite of
the bad economic conditions and, also, in spite of the very tempting
economics, there is no mass migration towards public clouds on the
enterprise front. This brings into focus the need for better security
and control for these customers. The recent surge in the VPC offerings
is just the market’s reaction to the demand. However, it is not the
miracle pill for the enterprise cloud computing. It is just an extra
layer on top of the public clouds that offers a little bit more control
to the customers.